NORTH PORT, Fla. - It will be five years ago Saturday, that 6-year-old Coralrose Fullwood was kidnapped, raped and murdered in North Port. Friday night, those closest to the little girl gathered to remember the life she lived.
It was an emotional night, but it was also a night of faith and hope that a crime so brutal will never be repeated.
"He said, she's missing," Coralrose's aunt Rosalyn Shraiar recalled. "I said, who's missing? He said Coralrose, they can't
find her. And then he called With the bad news."
September 17th, 2006 is a day Coralrose Fullwood's family would like to forget. On that day, the 6-year-old was snatched from her home, raped, and strangled to death.
"I don't know anybody could do anything like that to a child, never mind to an adult," Coralrose's grandfather Saul VanderWoude
5 years later, those closest to her, cling to faith and memories of a happier time.
"She'd get her hair all done up, try to put on some of my makeup, then she'd go outside and try to play with the tadpoles
in the mud," Coralrose's mother Ellen Fullwood said. "I can only imagine that this is the same things she is doing now."
Friday night, candles danced in the wind, and prayers were lifted up in the name of Coralrose, and in the name of justice.
"When somebody this young dies, you don't know what their potential was, and little Coralrose had the potential to be
anything she wanted to be," Shraiar said.
The man charged with her murder, Patrick Murphy, is serving a life sentence in prison. Ellen Fullwood knows he wasn't
the only person involved, and hopes her picture and her smile will remind them of the life they took too soon.
"There are children invovled," Fullwood said. "And my daughter is safe. She's fine, She's up playing with God,
she's having a grand old time. But there are other children out there who could be hurt in the same manner ."
Coralrose's mother has taken a bad situation and turned it into a way to help others. In the past year,
she launched the Coralrose Foundation, a nonprofit that provides education and counseling to law enforcement
and victims' families.
To learn more or to get involved, go to coralrosefoundation.org.